Shipping Out of Boston?

Posted: February 1, 2012 by ndbohlen in Celtics, NBA, Opinion
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mike: The Celtics must be one of the luckiest teams in the league right now. They lose their All-Star point guard and sole claim to youth, Rajon Rondo, then immediately rip off a 4-game win-streak, including one of the largest comeback wins in history against Orlando.

Nick: Thanks for jinxing the C’s, Mike. Right after you wrote this they fell to the Cleveland “We’re trying to get excited about Kyrie Irving replacing LeBron” Cavaliers.

Mike: After I completely jinxed the Jets against the Broncos and later their entire season, I think I learned a thing or two about the power of the jinx, and I’ve managed to master of the art of applying it judiciously.

But Rondo might be out until the All-Star Break. Yikes.

Rondo’s replacement, who is also making moves for a spot on the Crazy-Awesome Athlete Name Team, E’Twaun Moore, is providing some help, but the brunt of the play-making is falling on Paul Pierce’s shoulders.

Nick: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Pierce seems to have no trouble assuming such a role, unlike Mr. Melo. Granted Anthony has been hurt, but 1 point, 4 assists last week? Please.

Mike: I’m glad you’re so supportive of Pierce considering he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn when he first came back from injury. I’m not giving Pierce credit just yet. He’s making up for past sins as far as I’m concerned.

Nick: Last I checked, his latest box scores weren’t cancelled out or penalized because of a slow start. In the parlance of childhood bedtime stories, the tortoise beats the hare, my friend.

Mike: Either way, Rondo’s injury derailed the Celtics’ season plan of resting the oldies so their legs would be ready for a playoff run. Instead of starting slow and steady like the tortoise, Doc Rivers has already had to play the veteran Big Three at a breakneck, hare-like pace.

Do the Celtics need to make a move here, or would you rather see them ride it out until the All-Star break?

Nick: For some reason, I want the Celtics to sit tight this year. I don’t know why.

If the Celtics actually want to have a serious shot at an eighteenth title (damn right I’m taking the cheap historical title count), they have to make a move before the deadline. But what would they do? Their only real trade chips are Kevin Garnett’s and Ray Allen’s expiring contracts, or maybe Pierce to a contender since he has two years left on his deal and he as the most value as a scorer. Everyone else is either some mediocre role player or bench warmer, or Rondo, who should never be traded unless it’s for Chris Paul after a trip to Germany (I would say “to cheat like Kobe,” but that would just make me a sore loser).

Besides, and probably more to the point, what move puts them ahead of the Bulls or the Heat in the slot to represent the East in the NBA Finals? Answer: Only trading for the Monstars from Space Jam (for quarters 1-3, anyway – they’re the LeBron’s of cartoon basketball leagues), or even better, the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan with Plasticman arms.

 

Mike: I’m glad you’re not even allowing legitimate trade talk to entire your mind. After seeing the Bulls play Miami this weekend, there shouldn’t be a doubt in your mind that those are the two best teams in the East and, barring something as crazy as the Road Runner joining the 76ers, there’s no way any team in the East is going to catch those two and upset the inevitable Eastern Conference Finals rematch.

Nick: You’re probably right. With those four straight wins, the Celtics certainly aren’t poised on the precipice of an NBA title, but they at least have proven they can be somewhat competitive (a question that was far from answered when they were 5-9). And that’s without Rondo on the court to push the ball up the court in transition and distribute the ball in the half-court sets.

That said, we’ve already seen Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose, in addition to Rondo, sit out for extended stretches with bumps and bruises. With the frenetic pace of the shortened season cutting recovery time short, an ill-timed injury could completely change the course of the postseason. That could open the door just enough for the Celtics to sneak by one of those two teams, especially with Rondo’s return.

Mike: You realize that you sound like every Knicks fan and his Jewish mother clamoring that Baron Davis’s return will solve everything, don’t you? Which is another way of me saying, “I wouldn’t count on it.”

Nick: Why do you have to go and ruin everything like that? Insert wistful sigh here. Can’t a man dream?

This all-but-lost season aside, trying to make a push for this year jeopardizes any possibility of the Celtics being competitive long-term. Now I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about the inner workings of the salary cap and player deals and how that figures into possible trade scenarios (another way of saying I’m no Trade Machine Picasso like Bill Simmons), but trading KG or Ray-Ray essentially destroys any cap space the Celtics have to rebuild for next year, a.k.a. make a run at Dwight Howard this offseason. But even if the Celtics don’t land Superman (or not Superman, if you’re reading this, Shaq), which is quite possible and becomes even more so if he gets traded midseason, giving up that cap space essentially mortgages (forecloses? You’re the one in real estate) the next three years.

I don’t know about you, but I would rather watch my team compete annually than put all the chips straight-up on one number for an outside shot at hitting the jackpot on NBA title Roulette.

Mike: It’s not roulette if you have a bench like Oklahoma City, though, supporting an amazing starting five. Maybe the Monstars would be willing to give up a starter or two in exchange from some young bench warmers. And if they aren’t willing, maybe the Celtics should just steal them.

Nick: Barring that scenario, I’m hoping that LeBron concusses himself against the backboard on an ill-fated alley-oop, and I’m praying that Joakim Noah finally forces Rose to quit in protest of having to look at that disgusting patchy grundle beard day in and day out.

Who knows, maybe the Celtics shamrock luck will continue.

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